I’m a crybaby. I cry when I’m sad, when I’m happy, when I’m angry, and when I’m disappointed. I cry when I read a sad book or watch a sad movie. I cry when my husband makes me mad, and I cry at church when the pastor speaks of the grace of God. I cried with the families of my special patients when I worked at hospice… I always said when I couldn't feel empathy any more, then I needed to quit nursing. I cry when my Dad reads the Christmas story, and I cry every time I have a new grandbaby.
Yes, I am a crybaby. When I was young, my brothers often called me that. Sometimes I think they did things just to make me cry. They stopped calling me crybaby when I was a teenager and gained a lot of weight. Then they called me Breado, and still do. I know now it’s a term of endearment, but I thought then that they were calling me “bread dough”, and that made me cry too.
My Momma used to tell me that some of us are just very sensitive and that’s why we cry so much. She said it was okay. The dictionary says it’s simply shedding tears as a response to an emotional state in humans. There is also a very long compex definition of it too. I think it’s interesting that the definition says it only happens to humans, but I recently read an story about an elephant that cried. It was a beautiful story.
I’ve also read that there are different kinds of tears, the ones I cry when I’m holding a new grandbaby in my arms and the ones I cried when my son died are two different kinds of tears. When analyzed, tears contain different chemicals depending on what it is that makes us cry. Crying is a mechanism for humans to dispose of stress when it gets too high. That’s why a good cry after an argument with my husband always makes me feel better.
I never saw my Gramma cry and I asked her about it. She said it was because when her son died, she cried all the tears she had, and there were none left. That was before five more of her nine children died before she did.
One day when I was in my twenties, I looked in the mirror after a good cry and was horrified. Crying can make a person look ugly. My eyes, nose and lips were red and swollen, and my face looked like some grotesque comic person. I decided I should probably stop crying so much. And I was tired of others thinking of me as a “crybaby”. I decided right then that I didn’t want to be a crier anymore, so I asked God to take my tears away.
Oh what misery. When a person who is a crier holds the tears in, a great deal of damage can be done to that person’s emotional well being. Let me clarify. There is a difference in controlling our emotions and suppressing them. Sometimes we have to control them because it’s inappropriate at the time to show them.
When we actually push our emotions down, there are unhealthy long term consequences. At some point they will come out in inappropriate behaviors. or we simply try to get rid of them by using substances like drugs and alcohol.
If you are a crier like me and think you don’t want to be anymore, let me tell you what will happen. All those emotions you one time expressed by crying will now be expressed in more inappropriate ways; especially if it’s a negative feeling. Instead of crying when you fight with your husband, you throw a sugar bowl at him. (at least it was something sweet). Instead of crying when you are overwhelmed by responsibilities, you get in your car and leave your children behind so you won’t lash out at them. When you come back, they are crying because they thought you were gone forever.
And if your son dies and you don’t cry, you will suffer from deep depression and anxiety down the road.
So, I asked God to give my tears back to me. Yes, after I cry I still look horrible on the outside, but it is a small price to pay because I feel cleansed on the inside.
I recently read that after you die, you can have a tree planted in your ashes if you decide to be cremated. I was talking to my daughter about that and told her I thought I’d like to become a tree after I died, but didn’t know what kind of tree I should be. She suggested I become a weeping willow. I thought that was so funny, I laughed till I cried.
© 2014 B.J. Young